Noah's Sons in New Orleans

Stephen R. Haynes

in Noah's Curse

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195142792
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834280 | DOI:

Series: Religion in America

 Noah's Sons in New Orleans

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This chapter explores the use of the story of Noah's sons and related passages in the biblical exposition of Benjamin M. Palmer (1818–1902), a representative proslavery intellectual and leader in the southern Presbyterian Church from the 1850s until his death in 1902. Palmer was not only an influential advocate of slavery and secession but also an apostle of the South's Lost Cause following the Civil War. The role of Ham's curse is traced through Palmer's writings before, during, and after the Civil War, through which it is demonstrated that, with the demise of American slavery, Genesis 9–11 was utilized to justify racial segregation. The postbellum need for a new system of domination for dealing with the African majority in the South corresponds to a shift in Palmer's reading of Genesis from Ham the impudent son to Nimrod the rebellious tyrant who ignored the separation of peoples instituted by God following the flood.

Keywords: Civil War; intellectuals; Lost Cause; Palmer; Presbyterian; proslavery; secession; segregation

Chapter.  10259 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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